Reigning Champ Gaitten Clinches Round-Two Victory

| 23 April 2014 11:10 am

ACES Appalachian Championship Enduro Series
Round 2: Lost In Lodi Enduro

Story by Heather Wilson
Photos Courtesy of ACES
SHADE, OH, APR. 13, 2014

Reigning ACES champ and Wheelsports-backed rider Josh Gaitten certainly didn’t get “Lost in Lodi” – instead, he came out on top, grabbing the overall win at the Lost In Lodi Enduro, held in Shade, Ohio. Gaitten has won the championship four times since 2008.

This banner welcomed those who managed to find their way to the Lost In Lodi Enduro – a.k.a. round two of the Appalachian Championship Enduro Series.

This banner welcomed those who managed to find their way to the Lost In Lodi Enduro – a.k.a. round two of the Appalachian Championship Enduro Series.

“I enjoy enduros because you can ride with your buddies and have fun but still in a race setting,” Gaitten said. “Newcomer Andy Brannon and my cousin Jake Walters have been riding the enduros with me this year, and it’s fun to bench-race between sections. However, I busted up my ankle pretty good at the first enduro, and it’s still in rough shape, so I didn’t get to do any riding between the races. The season is still very early, but this win is definitely the direction I wanted to head in.”

More than 180 riders competed in the second round of the Appalachian Championship Enduro Series on April 13, 2014. The weather made for great riding conditions, being in the high 70s.

“Lost In Lodi isn’t your typical enduro,” said Kevin Brown, ACES volunteer and one of the event organizer for the enduro. “It started as a vision from Greg Meeks, another event organizer, who’s an enduro hotshot from back in the day. The event really has an enormous amount of backing by the local community – more than I have ever seen with an enduro. All of the event proceeds go to the Richland Area Volunteer Fire Department.”

Volunteers laid out nearly 100 miles for this event, with approximately 65 miles being pure trail-riding. The club members had been working on laying out the trails since February, when the weather was frigid.

“We had an awful winter and wet weather leading up to the event, so the course was laid out to be easier,” Brown said. “We still had some tough sections, due to the wet ground, but I think we had as good a balance as possible. The later numbers and less-experienced riders had a tough day, but finishing what I call a ‘real Southern Ohio spring enduro’ should feel like an accomplishment.”

Josh Gaitten was once again the champ at the Lost In Lodi Enduro – which he has won four times since 2008.

Josh Gaitten was once again the champ at the Lost In Lodi Enduro. He has won the ACES championship four times since 2008.

Gaitten dropped nine points to beat AA rider Jeff Melik, who dropped 10 points. Trevor Kline was close behind, dropping 11 points. Rounding out fourth place overall was Zach Klamfoth, who dropped 12 points.

Gaitten said the trail for the Lost In Lodi event was a bit deceiving.

“It appeared to be nice, tacky dirt, but it was actually quite slick,” Gaitten pointed out. “Even though the conditions were slick, the Lodi crew did a fantastic job laying out the course; quality trail, great arrowing, and good check placement all made for a challenging but very fun course. Plus, my bike was as good as if not better than ever. The top and bottom end of my bike were destroyed after the first enduro, but thanks to fresh new engine parts, adjusted suspension, and some other fine-tuning by Wheelsports mechanic Marty Kehlmeier, the 300 was in top form for Lodi.”

Gaitten said he had a lot on his mind during the race.

“Being my first race back after my close friend Rory Mead’s accident, I felt I was missing a lot of patience,” Gaitten said. “I visited him the weekend after his accident, and after spending time with him and seeing what he’s going through, it hit close to home for me. Like the champion he is, though, he’s working hard every day and has been making improvements on a daily basis. With that in mind, I did my best to ride for Rory and use just an ounce of the determination he’s shown in this experience to push me through the day.”

Gaitten said he has so many people to thank: “My parents are vital to my racing and always do what they can to help. “Wheelsports has been huge in keeping my bike ready and prepped with everything I need. Rekluse has come on board this year, and the Core EXP 2 has been a game-changer for me. I’d also like to thank FMF, Renthal, Acerbis, Scott Goggles, Leatt, Enduro Engineering, and Whirlygig Ink.”

Mark McGrath scored the Overall A honors.

Mark McGrath scored the Overall A honors.

Nearly the same outcomes were seen for the A and B Overalls as at the first race of the season. In the A classes, it was Vet A rider Mark McGrath, aboard his Extreme Action Sports KTM, who once again took the Overall A win, dropping 14 points. Vet A rider Eric Kriberney once again narrowly missed the Overall A, finishing just one point behind McGrath, and 250cc A-class rider Chris Starman followed with 16 points dropped.

The Overall B position was grabbed for the second time this season by Vet B rider John Bittner, who dropped 20 points. Bittner once more beat his class competitor Christopher Knight, who dropped 29 points.

When asked what is his key to winning, Bittner answered, “Being consistent and keeping it on two wheels.”

And unlike the first race of the season, when everyone was fighting to stay warm, Bittner said the key to this particular race was wearing vented gear in order to stay cool.

Bittner reported that the trail was “deceivingly slippery in some areas” but that his ride was great – until he got a flat front tire in the second-to-last section.

“I am excited to race the rest of the season,” Bittner said. “Also, I’d like to thank the Lost In Lodi crew for having such a great event and cutting some great trails.”

John Bittner was the Overall B winner.

John Bittner was the Overall B winner.

The next round of ACES, the Grass Man Enduro, will be held on May 4 in Norwich, Ohio. The event is hosted by the Ohio Woods Riders. Key time is 10 a.m., with sign-up from 7 to 9:15 a.m. on race day, or 6 to 7 p.m. the night before the event, should competitors choose to camp at the enduro location.

For the full schedule of ACES races and the latest news, please visit and the ACES social-media accounts: Facebook – and Twitter – @ACES_races.

About ACES
A nonprofit established in 2008, the Appalachian Championship Enduro Series (ACES) is an AMA-sanctioned traditional time-keeping enduro series. The season consists of 10 enduros, held mainly in the southeastern Ohio region, hosted by 10 different enduro clubs who are members of ACES. Race fees are $50 per race for points-paying classes and $40 per race for nonpoints-paying classes. AMA membership is required.

ACES Sponsors
ACES is generously backed by sponsors who contribute to the growth of the series and support the riders. Presenting Sponsor: Osburn Associates Inc. Associate Sponsors: Action Extreme Sports, Athens Sports Cycles, Caton’s Cycle Center, Clinton County Motorsports, Enduro Engineering, Fly Racing, JM Cycles, Kenda USA, Klamfoth Inc., KRW Cycles, Led Sled Customs, Pointview Cycle, Rehmert’s Kawasaki/ KTM, Rekluse, Smith’s Powersports, Uhrig Financial and Wheelsports.

Lost in Lodi Enduro
Shade, Ohio
Results: April 21, 2014 (Round 2)

OVERALL: Josh Gaitten.

OVERALL A: Mark McGrath.

OVERALL B: John Bittner.

AA: 1. Josh Gaitten; 2. Jeff Melik; 3. Trevor Kline; 4. Zach Klamfoth; 5. Brett Zofchak; 6. Michael Jolly; 7. Cary Eberts; 8. Johnny Barber; 9. Brian Melik.

200 A: 1. Shane Sims.

250 A: 1. Billy Weaver; 2. Chris Starman; 3. Nathan Bidwell; 4. Ryan Pendeville; 5. Tyler Chadwell; 6. Jeff Hill.

OPEN A: 1. Aaron Cooney; 2. Grant Smith; 3. Brian Rickard; 4. Tommy Ryan; 5. Robert Heinzerling; 6. Andy Matheny; 7. Adam Clark; 8. Jordan Collins; 9. Matthew Houy.

VET A: 1. Mark McGrath; 2. William Farmer; 3. Eric Kriberney; 4. Colin Klier; 5. Matthew Hatten; 6. Jason Smith; 7. Mike Copsey.

SR A: 1. Gene O’Nail; 2. Andy Brannon; 3. Harvey Whitaker; 4. William Kaeppner Jr.; 5. John Grimm; 6. Wayne Perdue; 7. Keith Vermillion; 8. David Olive; 9. Mike Vancise; 10. Michael Wist; 11. Greg Cutright.

SUPER SR A: 1. Scott Klamfoth; 2. Mark Lederle; 3. Norm Into; 4. Roger Nichols; 5. Edward Morra Jr.; 6. Doug Rhinehart; 7. Dan Knecht; 8. Mark Adkins.

200 B: 1. Trent Gardner; 2. Alex Exline.

250 B: 1. Matt Boyer; 2. Matt Kemp; 3. Bryan Flowers; 4. Brady Riley; 5. Anthony Edgar; 6. Dillon Anthony; 7. Dylan Price; 8. Chad Campbell; 9. Ryan Hoehn; 10. Garrett Wilson; 11. Jared Sabo; 12. Logan Mullins; 13. Garet Bennett; 14. Jake Walters.

OPEN B: 1. Joe Geyer Jr.; 2. Ben Evans; 3. Zachary Zombek; 4. Jason Francis; 5. Cory Ringer.

VET B: 1. John Bittner; 2. Christopher Knight; 3. Jason Estep; 4. Jeremy Bernhart; 5. Ed Steele; 6. Jason Adkins; 7. Jesse Short; 8. Ryan Curtiss; 9. Nick Fisher; 10. Patrick O’Nail; 11. Scott Clayton; 12. Justin Schwartz.

SR B: 1. Kenny Hoyle; 2. Tom Finello; 3. Ed Rahn; 4. Terry Hartman; 5. Jade Smith; 6. Steve Christy; 7. James Curtiss; 8. Marion Price.

SUPER SR B: 1. James Copsey; 2. Brian Haney; 3. Mark Pendeville; 4. Charles Niederriter; 5. Tom Gemmell; 6. Bill Green; 7. James Culbertson Jr.; 8. Jim Crowley.

MASTERS B: 1. Bill Moroz; 2. Ron Bohn; 3. Michael Schwartz; 4. Alan Gale; 5. Jimmie Withem; 6. Joe Klingensmith.

OPEN C: 1. Justin Secrest; 2. Ben Dempster; 3. Shad Wonders; 4. Brent Long; 5. Kristoffer Reeves; 6. Joshua Zombek; 7. Will Culbertson; 8. Greg Hudepohl; 9. Justin Boyer; 10. Lane Gilbraith; 11. Gary Thomas; 12. Michael Bail; 13. Dave Weber; 14. Robert Wellert; 15. John Dustman; 16. Roger Arney; 17. Daniel Campbell.

SCHOOLBOY C: 1. Elliot Edwards.

VINTAGE: 1. Nicholas Dickens.

SPORTSMAN: 1. Kraig George; 2. Kerry Reeds; 3. Eric Williams; 4. Scott Jerpbak; 5. Larry B. Wheeler; 6. Jeffrey Wright; 7. Tom Carpenter; 8. John Angelone; 9. Pete Magill; 10. Jeffrey Smith; 11. Jim Norris; 12. Larry H. Wheeler; 13. Jacob Henry; 14. Andrew Richards; 15. Charles Hopper; 16. David Sandusky; 17. George Kohus; 18. John Conway.

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Category: Enduro, Off-Road, Regional, Vintage, Vintage Off-Road

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